Strategies for Successful Habit Formation

Let’s return for a moment to our definition of a habit. A habit – whether it is good or bad – is something we do without thinking about it. Habitual behavior happens automatically. It’s part of who we are and how we live our lives.

In order to learn a new good habit, we have to literally teach ourselves to repeatedly do that habit until we do it reflexively, without thinking about it.

For example, if the bad habit we broke was driving too fast and the good habit we want to nurture is following the speed limit, we would have to force ourselves to drive the speed limit every time we got behind the wheel until we reached the point where we did it without thinking. Eventually, through repetition, it becomes second nature to us.

Using Reminders

Information overload is a very real condition in contemporary society, and it’s only getting worse. Now that people can connect to the Internet from their smart phones and tablets and stream video anywhere and anytime they want, the result is shorter attention spans.

It’s incredibly easy to become distracted now. There are just so much other stimuli to attract your attention. So staying on course with your Power Goals and following your Game Plan is going to take a total and genuine commitment on your part.

One helpful way to remind yourself to stay on track is through the use of reminders. These can be little things such as Post-It notes, text messages, emails and voicemails you can either send to yourself or have somebody else send you so that you are bombarded with reminders that will keep you motivated and focused on your goal.

Reminders are especially helpful if they are used in conjunction with your trigger points. If there is a particular place or event that reminds you of your past bad habit, use creative ways to post reminders to yourself so that you can avoid the temptation of recidivism. For example, if your bad habit is that you drink too much and your trigger point is the family liquor cabinet, install a padlock on the cabinet and give the key to your spouse to hide.

The Power of Ritual

If you the same thing at the same time every day, it can become a ritualized experience. For example, you

probably have a “morning ritual” which dictates when you shower, drink coffee, use the bathroom, get dressed and prepare for work. You probably follow the same exact sequence every day so that you don’t even have to think about it.

This same type of ritualized experience can be applied to your newly developed good habits. Train yourself to perform the same actions at the same time and in the same sequence every day until they become second nature. That way you will gain the benefits of your good habits without having to consciously choose to do them.

All Together Now: Grouping Actions

Grouping actions is when you take a number of good habits and perform them all at the same time. This saves you time and, once you make them part of your routine, you will do them automatically.

For example, if the bad habit you want to break is poor personal hygiene, you could group together good habits like brushing your teeth, using mouthwash, showering, shaving, applying deodorant and putting on clean cloths so that they are always performed ritually at the same time every day.

In many cases, it is far easier to use group actions than to try to remember to do each of the good habits individually.

Let’s talk about Entrepreneurs and Intrapreneurs:

The word entrepreneur and the words intrapreneur are often used interchangeably. An entrepreneur, in the context of this discussion, is somebody who has a creative and innovative approach to an industry. The “intrapreneur” is someone who makes bold, risky, even risky-seeming choices in an industry.

When you study places where entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship are highly encouraged, we can learn a few things about both innovation and habits that drive it.

For example, one company has a new program that allows anyone who joins to set up a business without a large capital investment. While many of these new businesses are not profitable, many of them have great potential and the company is experiencing economic growth because of them.

Another company has a program called “4 Weeks to Start a Business” which allows employees to come up with an idea for a business in four weeks and pitch it to the executive board. These business ideas would count with the support of the company and would include vesting options to the team in charge if they succeed.


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